By Andrew Caulfield
In the build-up to an exciting three days of middle-distance Classics in Europe, it looked a pretty safe bet that I would end up writing about Deep Impact or Galileo or a combination of the two (as represented by Saxon Warrior). After all, there were four daughters of Galileo in the G1 Oaks field and Deep Impact appeared to poised for a major breakthrough, with Saxon Warrior and Study of Man respectively being among the leading contenders for the G1 Derby and the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club.
Although it was highly disappointing to see Saxon Warrior’s Triple Crown hopes fizzle out with his lacklustre fourth behind the bold Masar, Galileo duly claimed his third Oaks victory, thanks to Forever Together. Galileo also emulated another of the all-time greats, Mill Reef, when Masar followed in the footsteps of grandsire Galileo and sire New Approach in becoming the third generation of his male line to triumph in the Derby.
Deep Impact also confirmed his status as one of the world’s truly elite stallions, with Study of Man becoming his second European Classic winner of 2018, and third Classic winner of the year, the other being the recent G1 Tokyo Yushun winner Wagnerian.
Yet it wasn’t all about Galileo and Deep Impact. They had to share the limelight with a few other deserving participants, both equine and human. For example, as I wrote in my Sept. 5th column last year following Masar’s impressive victory in the G3 Solario S., the colt was the first group winner inbred to that astonishing mare Urban Sea. Bearing in mind the huge influence that Urban Sea’s descendants have exerted on Europe’s mile-and-a-half Classics, I wasn’t too surprised when Masar followed up his impressive G3 Craven S. win and his perfectly respectable third behind Saxon Warrior in the G1 2000 Guineas with a victory in the half-mile-longer Derby. He is inbred 3 x 4 to Urban Sea (and also to Ahonoora), and we can surely expect to see inbreeding to Urban Sea becoming very fashionable.
Urban Sea wasn’t the only exceptional racemare and broodmare to make her presence felt over the Classic weekend. Only a week after the Niarchos Family had won the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas with Alpha Centauri, a great-granddaughter of the wonderful Miesque, they pulled off a second Classic victory with Miesque’s grandson Study of Man in the Jockey-Club.
Of course Classic success is nothing new for the Miesque family. Bred by Stavros Niarchos’s Flaxman Holdings in 1984, the brilliant daughter of Nureyev won the 1000 Guineas and the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches before lack of stamina contributed to her defeat by Indian Skimmer in the G1 Prix de Diane.
A demanding 16-start career, which also featured a brace of victories in both the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois and the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, certainly didn’t have any adverse effects on Miesque’s broodmare career, as she was to produce 14 foals in the space of 16 years. Her first foal was the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Kingmambo, who was to become a prolific sire of European Classic winners, and her second was East of the Moon, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane winner who ranks as Alpha Centauri’s second dam.
Instead of writing about Deep Impact’s burgeoning partnership with Galileo’s broodmare daughters, which currently boasts three group/graded winners from 13 foals of racing age, Study of Man’s win turns the spotlight onto Deep Impact’s impressive results with daughters of Storm Cat.
The Prix du Jockey-Club winner is no less than the ninth black-type winner to emerge from Deep Impact’s 60 foals of racing age out of daughters of the two-time champion American stallion. Indeed he is the seventh Group 1 winner to represent the Deep Impact–Storm Cat alliance, which equates to nearly 12%–a terrific achievement.
The enormity of this achievement only becomes fully apparent when you read through a list of Study of Man’s predecessors. Top of the pile is Kizuna, the 2013 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner who travelled to Europe to defeat the Derby winner Ruler of the World in the G2 Prix Niel. Kizuna also finished a creditable fourth behind Treve, Orfevre and Intello in the Arc.
Europe also got to see another impressive representative of the cross when A Shin Hikari trounced the opposition in the 2016 G1 Prix d’Ispahan, five months after he had taken the G1 Hong Kong Cup over a mile and a quarter. The other Group 1 scorers were Ayusan, winner of the 2013 G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas); Satono Aladdin, conqueror of the Classic-winning Logotype in the 2017 Yasuda Kinen over a mile; and Lachesis, who took the 2014 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 11 furlongs.
However, the one with the most relevance to Study of Man is Real Steel, as his dam Loves Only Me is out of Miesque’s daughter Monevassia, a sister to Kingmambo and to the Group 1 sire Miesque’s Son. Real Steel became a Group 1 winner when he travelled to Meydan in 2016 for the Dubai Turf over nine furlongs and he finished a respectable third to Benbatl in the same race two years later. Although Real Steel has gained all three of his group victories over nine furlongs, he is much more versatile than that suggests. He also finished second in the G1 Japanese 2000 Guineas and the G1 Japanese St Leger, in the latter being beaten only a neck by Kitasan Black, a two-time Japanese Horse of the Year sired by Deep Impact’s brother Black Tide. Study of Man should therefore stay a mile and a half.
It is interesting to speculate about the reasons why Deep Impact is so effective with Storm Cat mares. I think the explanation is similar to that for Galileo’s success with mares by the likes of Danehill and Storm Cat. Like Galileo, Deep Impact possessed plenty of stamina. He never tackled a distance shorter than a mile and a quarter and his victories included the Japanese St Leger over 15 furlongs and the Tenno Sho over two miles. Like many a stayer, Deep Impact is a quality individual, comparatively refined with rather light bone. He therefore benefits from a muscular, strongly-made mare with speed in her background.
Not that Study of Man’s dam Second Happiness showed the ability expected of one of her immaculate bloodlines. Two of her three appearances as a 3-year-old came at Compiegne, her best effort being a 3 1/2-length third in a seven-furlong newcomers’ event. Second Happiness also put in an appearance later in the year at Keeneland’s November Sale, but she was unsold at $1.2 million. Her next destination was Japan, where she was sent originally to support the Niarchos family’s Arc winner Bago. Second Happiness was returned to Europe while carrying Study of Man and has since produced a 2016 colt and a 2018 filly to Galileo.
Second Happiness is the second of Miesque’s three daughters by Storm Cat. The first, Angel’s Nest, never raced and produced just one winner, while the third, the twice-raced Ama, was sold to Darley for 1.8 million gns as a 3-year-old. Ama has yet to justify her price but has young daughters by New Approach and Dubawi, so may yet come good–Study of Man is comfortably the best winner out of Second Happiness and he was foaled when his dam was 13.
Alpha Centauri and Study of Man are the fourth and fifth Group 1 Classic winners descending from Miesque, following Kingmambo, East of the Moon and Karakontie. The last-named won the 2014 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, in addition to the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Interestingly, Karakontie’s pedigree features some of the same elements as Study of Man’s. His grandsires are Storm Cat and Sunday Silence, whereas Study of Man’s are Sunday Silence and Storm Cat, and his third dam is Miesque, the second dam of Study of Man. Karakontie is available for only $10,000 at Gainesway this year, even though his first-crop weanlings sold for $250,000 (to Flaxman Holdings), $130,000 and $110,000. The 250,000-dollar youngster is inbred 4 x 3 to none other than Miesque, so it will be interesting to follow his progress.